Monday, June 30, 2008
Apparently a bunch of geothermal heat (and CO2, but I digress) has been released into the Arctic Ocean underneath the ice cap ... some huge explosions thought not possible before because of the great depth of the water there -- along a tectonic spreading joint called the Gakkel Ridge. This ridge runs down the middle of a deep basin whose western edge runs, for most practical purposes, right under the north pole.
So a series of huge volcanic eruptions as recent as 1999 have ... heated the Arctic Ocean under the polar ice cap. (You don't suppose something like that might interrupt the "delicate balance" of oceanic circulation in the arctic, do you ?) And ... the age of the ice in the icecap has dropped from 20% 6 years or older in the 1980's to 3% in 2008.
I'd like to see a chart correlating the drop the amount of old ice with ... earthquake activity in the region just north of Greenland. We didn't, until recently, know they were related to undersea volcanic eruptions. This article says the scientists say that the heat released isn't contributing to the melting of the polar ice cap (I'd like to know what their reasoning is. It's a lot of heat in a basin with a relatively closed circulation -- and they've only studied a very small portion of the ridge. Remember "delicate balance"? Volcanic explosions more massive than anything we've ever seen?) But they do say the CO2 released is affecting the atmospheric CO2 concentrations and thus global warming. But they can't (won't?) guess how much ... out loud.
In addition (not surprisingly) there's an oscillation pattern in the Arctic ... like the one in the southern Pacific that produces El Niño (the Southern Oscillation) known as the Arctic Oscillation. And it just so happens that last summer while this was going on it was just getting over going this-a-way, and this winter is switching around to go that-a-way (that's what oscillations do). When that happens, there's a loss of the fresher water that forms the halocline layer, which protects the ice from warmer, saltier waters below. And there's apparently enough heat in those waters below to melt the entire ice cap, according to those who study these waters.
I'd like to read more on the volcanic activity and the heat and CO2 amounts involved in relation to the total earth carbon budget.
At any rate, suffice it to say there are likely other forces at work that could well explain what's going on with the (north) polar ice cap, AGW theory or no. And to say we know what "normal" is after 60-100 years of records is a bit presumptuous.
It turns out that there are scientists betting on whether or not the North Pole will be ice-free for a short time this September for the first time
Which really hasn't been that long.
We don't have any record from anyone who was actually "there" before 1909, and there weren't a lot of aerial photos of it before, I'll assume, WWII -- probably at least several years after. So probably 50 or 60 years. And after all, the earth has gotten a little warmer in the last 150 years as far as we can tell. Like 0.7 degrees C.
Now, when you see a headline that says "Scientists Say North Pole May Be Ice Free This Year for the First Time In Recorded History" -- what do you think pops into most people's heads?
A: Most people probably assume that it has never happened before, at least since the dinosaurs died off, and they also imagine the Arctic sea free of ice.
The Arctic sea will be far from free of ice, even if this prediction does come true.
The Gulf Stream tends to keep the European side of the ice cap farther to the north than the rest of it, and if the North Pole becomes ice-free briefly one year, it won't be because the ice cap shrank uniformly in all directions until one last ice cube melts away right at the pole one day and polar bears are left scratching their heads doing the backstroke.
It'll melt in from the side that's already much closer to the pole and the rest of the ice won't be far off at that time.
If the earth continues to cool over the next 30 years as expected it'll get bigger and thicker again.
Which is why AGW-oligists are scrambling to do damage control - "oh, it's just on hiatus for a while, but IT'LL BE BACK!!!!' You know, even though we're at the unstoppable tipping point, and it's ALL CAUSED BY MAN!!!! And even though it's on hiatus, it's accellerating faster than ever! Either way, we're right!!!! Wallee said so!
I was reading an article earlier that was talking about how CO2 levels were around 180 ppm during the last ice age, and it rose to a comfortable 280 ppm (caused by ... ?????), but then "we" have "pushed it up" to 390 ppm after that. So the natural balance changed naturally to a natural state, but since we've been around, it's unnaturally changed to an unnatural state.
Friday, June 27, 2008
E.J. apparently isn't familiar with what "originalism" is all about. There were three branches of government set up to do specific things. One of them was Congress -- which was to legislate.
The court's five most conservative members have demonstrated that for all of Justice Antonin Scalia's talk about "originalism" as a coherent constitutional doctrine, the judicial right regularly succumbs to the temptation to legislate from the bench. They fall in line behind whatever fashions political conservatism is promoting.
Conservative justices claim that they defer to local authority. Not in this case. They insist that political questions should be decided by elected officials. Not in this case. They argue that they pay careful attention to the precise words of the Constitution. Not in this case.
Another one was the courts, which were to interpret what the legislators meant and how it applies in certain cases.
And of course the Executive branch is supposed to enforce the courts' decisions.
The Supreme Court is the top federal court that often tests laws against the Constitution. The Bill of Rights -- an extension to the constitution that was added at the insistence of many states before they'd ratify it - consists of a list of things that government is not allowed to do.
The second one, #2 on the list, says
"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."The right of the People.
Not the right of the militia. And what is a militia, anyway? Basically, it's a bunch of citizens. Traditionally, and this becomes clear when you read the history of the drafting of the second amendment -- it's not the military. It's the population. It's you and me. And whatever we can grab to fight with. This amendment says "you can't legislate away the right of the People to keep and bear arms". Now Congress could repeal this amendment, I suppose -- amendments can and have been repealed. There are specific rules about how that is to be done. None of the first 10, the Bill of Rights --- has, to this point. And laws that get passed anywhere have to stand up to the Constitution, which includes its amendments.
E.J. This is not inconsistent. This is the way it was set up. This is the definition of originalism. It's not a political question. It's a Constitutional question. The answer is pretty darned clear. It says right there in the Constitution that laws that infringe on the right of the People to keep and bear arms are unconstitutional. SHALL. NOT. BE. INFRINGED!!!!!!!
I mean, what is so difficult to understand about that? You have to refuse to understand it in order to not understand it.
The People. The Right of The People. Same wording used in the first amendment.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I have no sympathy for a child rapist. Emotionally, I'd wanna cap 'em. If it were my kid, I'd wanna cap 'em myself.
But this is a decision that does have some arguments in its favor. And below the best one I've heard.
To kill, or not to kill? Not from the sentencing point of view, but from this point of view.
Is it worse to rape or to kill? Both terrible. One is worse. It's worse because it's permanent. It deprives you of any chance for any future happiness. The other one, still more than reprehensible. But still not the worst thing that can happen. Death still tops that.
Now look at it from the point of view of the rapist. The bastard has done the dirty deed, and now he's thinkin' -- if I get caught, I'm gettin' the death peanalty either way. So why leave a witness?
'Course -- life in prison, no parole? Maybe with a Child Rapist tattoo on them? I can live with that.
I'm not trying to cut the rapist slack. I'm just saying it's a defensible position to say it's not the worst of the worst of crimes. Frankly, I probably wouldn't've been too upset if it had gone the other way, either.
Whew! I was beginning to wonder just what liberties this court would be willing to take (hey, nice pun).
Still, it was 5-4. Should've been 9-0. Second Amendment, baby. Part of the ORIGINAL Constitution -- which most states refused to ratify without the Bill of Rights.
Again I remind you. 5-4. Who you vote for this fall does make a difference. It might be 5-4 the other way next time, or worse. Think long and hard before you stay home to protest McCain.
Agree or disagree with Fagan, I interpreted what he said using the rhetorical "I" -- ie, he was pretending to speak for all trial lawyers, trying to scare people into voting against Jessica's Law by painting an ugly picture of how it would be bad for children because they'd be berated by defense lawyers. When he said "it's not because I'm a nice guy" he meant he wasn't doing it because he liked his client -- he was saying it's not a defense lawyer's job to be a nice guy. It's a defense lawyer's job to be an asshole. He was saying he would be duty bound to do it. I know what he's driving at. But I don't agree with him, and I'll bet lots of other trial lawyers disagree with him as well.
I don't think that's what a decent trial lawyer would do (I know, some of you are going to scream "oxymoron", but come on. Be fair. They exist). He's right -- some would. Maybe even he himself.
I think he's wrong. His hyperbole was shocking. Poorly stated. Overboard.
Now... if he really didn't mean "I" in the rhetorical sense ... then he is a piece of pond scum. But I'll give the benefit of the doubt first. He was making an impassioned arguement that Jessica's Law would backfire on kids because lawyers -- presumably lawyers like him, would feel duty bound to destroy the witness's credibility and therefore psyche. Presumably, he doesn't want the law passed so that children will be protected from lawyers who believe what he does about the duty of a lawyer.
In the end, it is important to preserve the presumption of innocence of the defendant at a trial. People can be falsely accused, even by children. Accusers need to be vetted. But you don't have to "rip them apart" and make sure they throw up and can't sleep. If the kid's telling the truth, it shouldn't add significantly to the trauma. If the kid's lying, that's when I think he or she ought to have trouble sleeping. But that would be a trauma of conscience at that point.
Ideally, I don't really believe in mandatory sentencing for anything. That's what a "Judge" is supposed to do. "Judge" what the circumstances are and what the sentence should be should the defendant be found guilty. This is why we need Judges with good Judgement.
Now of course we have judges bestowing sweeping rights upon essentially prisoners of war to enter our civillian legal system (which our own soldiers don't have a right to), and judges using poor judgement all over the place and this is what leads movements to ask for mandatory sentencing on certain things. I don't have a good answer.
Which leads me to this: Who you vote for matters. If the Democrats win -- even if they lose the White House -- if they gain seats in Congress, we're going to get more federal judges with progressive mindsets. That's a fact. I guaran-damn-tee it. If Republicans can gain back a majority and John McCain wins the White House, we have a better chance of getting constructionalist judges rather than activist ones.
This is a big deal. Conservatives who are unhappy with McCain, think about this before you sit on your hands this November.
Liberals who are liberals because they like fluffy bunnies but haven't really thought a lot about how the system is supposed to work? Think about it before you pull the lever for the donks. If you're not sure, please sit on your hands. Don't "Rock the Vote".
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
This "Vote or Die" and "Rock the Vote" crap. Most people probably don't realize this, but the idea behind these types of campaigns is to get tons of people who are ignorant of the issues behind the issues, work them up emotionally and convince them they're the right people to vote for -- by keeping it to slogans like "clean air, clean conscience" and simplistic schlock like that that ignores reality.
Ignorant people are easier to snow, so if you can snow them and convince them they're doing a good thing by voting ...
It just so happens that it's harder to get people worked up and excited about personal responsibility than it is to get people excited about getting the government to do stuff for you.
Oh yeah, it's to encourage voluntary good habits after the convention. Actually, it's to advertise a holier-than-them premise for the Democrat brand name. And how long will it stay voluntary if they win?
Read on, McDuff:
"Director of Greening"
"The New Patriotism"
The Greenest Show on Earth - Democrats Gear Up for Denver
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
They're suggesting that, out of gratitude, Iraq should sell us oil cheap, or that Iraq should award oil contracts to American companies.
In other words ... blood for oil.
Most thoughtful conservatives don't think this way. From the beginning, it was made clear that Iraqi oil would belong to Iraqis. Now they can have other companies extract it for them if they want, that is their business. And it looks like they've largely done just that -- awarded contracts to a lot of non-American companies (though some may, I'm not sure, have American connections -- and if so, that is also up to the Iraqis).
I, for one, see no reason not to take what Bush said from the beginning at face value. We went in there to remove Saddam Hussein as a threat to the region and the rest of the world, and to liberate Iraqis so that they could establish some sort of free government in the region. It was never to "steal the oil", and that is being bourne out.
I don't understand these people who now apparently feel that "blood for oil" should actually be what it was about, at least in part.
Personally, this conservative is for moving toward energy independence.
Monday, June 23, 2008
This bugged me. Using the wording I used, it's probably true. They'll break for the candidate who more closely echoes their views on environmental issues.
But more environmentally conscious? It depends on what you think the meaning of both of those words are, I suppose.
Frankly, I think it means that their views echo what they have been instructed to believe by self-proclaimed "environmental" groups. We've allowed these groups to dictate to society what proper stewardship is, and it's gotten way out of hand to the point of unabashed anti-humanism. I mean, they're not even ashamed to say it out loud.
I'm environmentally conscious. I'm also probably a lot more conscious of nature and how it works than most "young" voters. And I'm conscious of a bunch of other things that we need to balance those environmental concerns against.
Environmentally conscious has become a smug euphamism for self-serving lip service to Mother Gaia.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
The real cause is to further the self, by making one appear to others as being better, above reproach, look what I'm doing and what are you doing narcissim.
The Goracle, or All Gorged (the glutton for energy) is in the news again today, and it's about his home again.
Last year we found that his home consumes something like 20 times the power of the average American home (but that's ok, because he has a guest house and buys carbon credits). Well The Goracle has greened up his home, so he's using less energy now, which is what it's all about, right?
Well, not excactly. He's apparently using 10% more energy than he did last year. But his house has been "greenified", and that's what's important ... to him, would be my take.
After the Tennessee Center for Policy Research exposed Gore’s massive home energy use, the former Vice President scurried to make his home more energy-efficient. Despite adding solar panels, installing a geothermal system, replacing existing light bulbs with more efficient models, and overhauling the home’s windows and ductwork, Gore now consumes more electricity than before the “green” overhaul.
Since taking steps to make his home more environmentally-friendly last June, Gore devours an average of 17,768 kWh per month –1,638 kWh more energy per month than before the renovations – at a cost of $16,533. By comparison, the average American household consumes 11,040 kWh in an entire year, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Even friends I have who I think should know better say "ah, that'll never happen."
Under a national law that came into effect two months ago, companies and local governments must now measure the waistlines of Japanese people between the ages of 40 and 74 as part of their annual checkups. That represents more than 56 million waistlines, or about 44 percent of the entire population.
Those exceeding government limits — 33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for women, which are identical to thresholds established in 2005 for Japan by the International Diabetes Federation as an easy guideline for identifying health risks — and having a weight-related ailment will be given dieting guidance if after three months they do not lose weight. If necessary, those people will be steered toward further re-education after six more months.
Friday, June 13, 2008
But the recent Supreme Court decision, according to the BDS-ridden is interpreted as meaning "George Bush is not above the law."
I'm a bit confused. What law, excactly -- in this case, are they claiming George Bush was claiming he was above? I missed something.
The Supreme Court said Congress and the President were going to have to hash something out the last time they made a decision on this (and the decision was that it wasn't their decision, but rather Congress & the President's). Congress and the President came to a decision. Court says "do this". Bush does it.
And now the Supreme Court says "Wrong Decision!" ???
That about sums it up. And Bush says he'll abide by it. Again, what law is he claiming to be above?
Prisoners of War now get to tie up our civilian courts if we take them to Cuba.
I guess next time we should just kill 'em on the battlefield. That would be legal.
If you ask me, it looks like they set us up the bomb.
Take off every Zig. All our base are belong to them.
(incidentally, for those of you still living in a cave -- or maybe for those of you who don't, heh heh -- Al Queda means "the Base")
Another bumpersticker idea?
Mostly because I'd like to hear them explain how they're not, right after an open discussion of their platform.
Not that McCain hasn't been infected with a mild case of it, too. But I don't think it's his general worldview.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
He Ain't Heavy From the Jerusalem Post:
Barack Obama's half brother Malik said Thursday that if elected his brother will be a good president for the Jewish people, despite his Muslim background.
In an interview with Army Radio he expressed a special salutation from the Obamas of Kenya. For the last time, Barack Obama is not Muslim! Malik must have read this in the New York Times. Would someone please send him a copy of that Public Editor column taking it all back?
Oh well, look on the bright side. At least he didn't call his brother "Barack Hussein Obama."
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
And he has this guy on, Vincent Bugliosi who prosecuted Charles Manson et. al. for the Tate Murders, wrote "Helter Skelter", and a scathing condemnation of the O.J. Trial and verdict. Dennis said he knew him and considered him a sharp mind and brought him on to talk about his new book which argues that Bush should be tried for the murders of all soldiers killed in Iraq plus all Iraqi military and civilians who have been killed in the war -- a position Dennis clearly doesn't agree with. But Dennis isn't opposed to letting people with other points of view present and defend their points of view on his show.
And this guy comes on practically sputtering with rage at Bush, deserves the death penalty, he's got the case sewn up tight and all Bush can do is "hide under a table" if he asks these questions in court as a prosecuting attourney. He insisted that Saddam was no threat and that the intelligence was made up.
Upon being challenged with facts (Dennis played a few of these quotes), Bugliosi's counter-arguments quickly boiled down to calling the respondent a "Bush Lover" or "Right-Wing" or something of the sort rather than actually addressing the argument. We'll get to that in a bit. The man was apparently so angry, so enraged, so seethingly obsessed that he couldn't see straight. Let me repeat that. He couldn't see straight.
When he complained that he hadn't been able to present any of his arguments (other than "Bush Lied", "Murder", "Bush Lied", "People Died", and "Right-Wing"), Dennis told him to take a minute and spell out something coherent about his case.
He told Dennis to play defense attourney, and he would play prosecuting attourney. He would ask a question and there's no way Dennis would be able to answer it. Bush is GUILTY! You'll see!
Then he sputtered on about the Downing Street Memo and embellished quite a bit beyond the core of the Downing Street Memo (likely expanding the controversial use of the word "Fixed" in the paragraph I'll publish at the end) and apparently filling in what he thought it obviously meant. It was almost coherent, though you'd have to take a bunch of what this one man said on faith, plus believe that a typewritten copy of a photocopy (which was subsequently destroyed) of a secret document the head of MI6 wrote about a meeting between Bush and Blair before they ever went to the UN in the first place said that they discussed trying to provoke Saddam into a war with ... an air strike or something of that sort. Which was most decidedly not what the supposedly official text of the controversial portion of said document says even when reproduced by rabid left-wing writers. I'm sorry, if that's the smoking gun of the"Bush Lied" argument, then Bush's case for war (the one he actually made, if not also the narrow version the anti-war crowd says it was) was air tight by those same standards.
Apparently in the book he does a Q & A session where Bugliosi asks the questions ... and then answers them as if he were Bush. Clever. Dennis asked him about this, and the author basically dismissed it as the only answer Bush could have given if he were telling the truth. The Truth according to Bugliosi and the TTWDP (Tantrum-Throwing Wing of the Democratic Party).
The word "fixed" in the memo is interpreted by Bush critics as if it were meant in the horse race or gambling sense. Of course, "fixed" can also mean "attached to". Critics say that "fixed" only makes sense in the paragraph in you interpret it in the first sense. Of course, that's only if you believe that the policy, the idea that Saddam needed to be removed as a matter of national and international security, not to mention the domestic pain he inflicted on his own people, was an idea the "neo-cons" came up with rather than something that Democrats and members of the Clinton administration had talked about in the past, re-iterated, and supported in 2002. But if it means "attaching" it could easily mean that they were simply laying out the case for war in terms the general public could easily see and grasp. There is no crime in that -- indeed, it would be their duty. And they did it.
But as we've discussed before, the left isn't in the business of making arguments -- they want to itterate their talking points, then dismiss ad hominiem their opponents so that (in their book) there's no point in listening to the other side. "Bush Lover". "Watches Fox News". "Corporate Interest". "Neocon." "He reads right-wing magazines."
Don't listen to him, he's one of those people!Rather than going ahead and listening to him and making a case, a logical case backed with facts, showing why he's wrong. They're long on stating things as if they were fact. But when you start poking for references or contradictory facts especially with references, they run right back to hiding behind the trees of "Bush-Lover". "Neocon". "Rethuglican." "Haaaaaaaaaaaaalliburton!!!!!!!!"
What Dennis likes to do with these people is to give them enough rope, let 'em run with it ... to hang themselves. And it rarely fails.
In their world, the only reason one might agree with Bush is that they like him, or worship him. It never seems to occur to them that maybe we agree with Bush because we weighed the facts, thought it out, and came to the same conclusion Bush came to. If that happens, then yeah, I'm gonna agree with Bush. It's not the other way around. I like Bush because I agree with him. I don't agree with him because I like him. Who thinks like that?
Oh, that's right... the Left. They apparently suffer from the worst case of projection you can imagine.
But in their world, merely agreeing with Bush is grounds for dismissing any argument you might make, whether you've had a chance to make that argument or not.
I still think this Bush Derangement Syndrome has more to do with bitterness over the 2000 election than anything else.
The controversial portion of the memo:
C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.And yet they went the U.N. route, made their case (which went far, far beyond WMD). The argument convinced me, most Republicans, and most Democrats. When the intelligence turned out to be flawed ... which, beleive it or not intelligence often is ... the Democrats saw a political opportunity and most tried to re-write history, claiming they'd never been for the war, claiming that the administration fabricated any threat from Saddam -- and "lied" about it. It became "Bush's War".
"Where there's smoke and a guy with a fire extinguisher, there's fire."
Wow. That one has all kinds of applications. :-)
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
How much oil do we get from Iraq, or even from the middle east, for that matter? Last figure I saw said 17% of our oil came from the Middle East as a whole. Here's a Wiki article that says 22% in 2006.
Another article here from Dec, 2007 shows Iraq accounts for 3%.... Of our IMPORTS. We supply a good chunk (41%) of our own oil, and the next biggest chunk is supplied by Canada (9%). Pretty close to the same each from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and a little less from Mexico.
The oil in Iraq belongs to Iraq and Iraqis, which Bush promised before removing Saddam Hussein. This was clearly the plan all along. We pay, they get the dough. How does that constitute a "grab"? I don't get it. Yet people repeat it every day, ad nauseum.
What has been widely publicized in the media is that suicides among American troops have gone up. What has not been widely publicized is that this higher suicide rate is still not as high as the suicide rate among demographically comparable civilians.[..]
Moreover, this is not the first time that military service overseas has been portrayed in the media as the cause of problems that are worse in the civilian population at home.But they're out there, "makin' a difference". And that's what counts.
The New York Times led the way in making homicides committed by returning military veterans a front page story, blaming this on "combat trauma and the stress of deployment." Yet the New York Post showed that the homicide rate among returning veterans is a fraction of the homicide rate among demographically comparable civilians.
In other words, if military veterans are not completely immune to the problems found among civilians at home, then the veterans' problems are to be blamed on military service-- at least by the mainstream media.
Monday, June 09, 2008
You know I started wearing it again at that veteran’s event because once again I had been handed the flag by a veteran who said it was important. This is an issue that is a phony issue because I have never been opposed to a flag pin. I have worn flag pins in the past. When I was asked about it, I had worn flag pins after 9/11, and I have chosen not to wear one because I didn’t want to be perceived as wearing my patriotism on my chest but not promoting or advocating on behalf of veterans in a patriotic way. Some people took that as a slight against people who wore flag pins, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. It was a commentary on politicians and folks in Washington who sometimes are pretty good about saluting our soldiers when they come home but then don’t follow up with budgets that make sure their getting treatment for post traumatic stress disorder. So it’s a commentary about our politics, not about individuals who wear the flag with prideIt came up today when a friend forwarded me what turns out to be somewhat of a hoax email (which was actually a parody article on Obama's flag-pin/national anthem explanations) asking if they were really true. They weren't. Not literally anyway.
So I went out looking for what was actually said. I found the above, and the following:
“You know, the truth is that right after 9/11 I had a pin. Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we’re talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest, instead I’m gonna’ try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism.”and later
"After a while, you know, you start noticing people wearing a lapel pin, but not acting very patriotic,'' Obama said here. "Not voting to provide veterans with the resources that they need...."It occurred to me that nobody has really pegged what this flap was all about in the first place. It wasn't the absence of the pin, it was his explanation. McCain sometimes wore a pin, sometimes didn't. Same with Hillary and probably the rest of the candidates. But Obama used the opportunity to cast aspersions on Americans who are overtly patriotic and proud to wear or display the symbol.
"You show your patriotism by being true to our values and our ideals,'' he said. "And that's what we have to lead with is our values and ideals."
Whether or not someone else wears one every day, or any day, or ever is not the issue. It's the refusal to do it -- but more than that, his apparent disdain for those who do.
This fits in with his apparent view of Americans from, shall we say, less than cosmopolitan areas of the country. Ignorant. They can't possibly hold the views they do due to any conviction come to by thoughtful reflection. Contemplation. Thinking. No, it must be an "understandable" (say, the way one understands bovine behavior) emotional reaction to the Great Satan of Capitalism. The thing the God (Barak himself? -- The "Lightworker"?) of Socialism that the Democratic Party wants to lead them into. For their own good, of course.
Barack has changed his tune since then after it became clear how much damage publicly looking down his nose at half of America can do, as explained in the quote nearest the beginning of his post.
Damage control: So it’s a commentary about our politics, not about individuals who wear the flag with pride.
And I'm wondering, what qualifies one to be an "environmental activist"?
I'm thinkin' it means maybe a bumpersticker on your car, showing up on Earth Day, or picking up a sign at a rally with a slogan bashing big companies ... or Bush. Maybe getting a reusable shopping bag, or planting a tree.
So really it requires little or no personal investment, and a thirst for self-righteousness, and it's amply rewarded by like-minded people.
Dudes and dudettes, that's what we're up against.
That's not "I love America" talk. That's not patriotism. That's talk of revolution, pure and simple.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Thursday, June 05, 2008
That's what the Democrats seem to be about.
I was tipped off by Congressman Dryer on the Dennis Miller Show today. Here are a few vote tallies.
Responsible drilling in ANWR -- Republicans 91% for, Democrats 86% against. Coal to Oil Republicans 97% for, Democrats 78% against. Oil Shale Republicans 90% for, Democrats 86% against. Increased Oil Refinery Capacity Repubicans 97% for, Democrats 96% against.
I found more on it here. And here.
But it's the Republicans who are keeping oil prices high for their greedy oil buddies. Riiiight.
(Econ 101 review. Increased supply lowers prices.)
At the same time, Dems are pushing Lieberman-Warner which is designed to increase gas and other energy prices to reduce global warmarmaning.
So which is it, Democrats? Do we want to lower gas prices, or raise them? Apparently, if you raise them for the "right" reasons, it's ok?
(both graphs are clickable for a larger view)
I did find a wiki article on the total federal budget from FY2007 (I made a graph of the data, right). It puts defense spending in perspective, which is excactly what folks like the Friends Comittee for National Legislation do not want us to do. They want you to subtly get it into your head that almost half the federal budget is defense, and that's just outrageous! Get mad, write letters, march, protest, etc.
It's been said that a democracy can only exist until the people discover that they can vote themselves money from the treasury (apparently this gets attributed to Ben Franklin a lot, but others say the original author hasn't been traced .. still, it goes back 50 years and clearly there's some serious logic to it). And clearly, we're there.
Barak and Hillary and most Democrats basic philosophy is to deliver the goods to those voters, making that bar to the far left of the chart ever taller. But they don't want you to think about where it comes from. Taxes on We the People.
Speaking of that, just where do those taxes come from -- how is the load spread out?
Mostly the poor? Middle class? Theories abound. Most talk about the rich stickin' it to the middle class and the poor forgotten and trodden upon by the golden slippers of the upper class.
But it ain't true. It's propaganda designed to cause resentment so that the people will vote for still more taxes to be taken from those who pay them.
I've posted this before, but -- I see these numbers over and over again (got these from the IRS's web site) ... the top 1% of income earners pay about 23% of the taxes. The top 10% pay just at half the taxes. Leaving the other 90% of America to pay the other half of the taxes.
Higher taxes put a drag on the economy. Increased capital gains taxes actually cost the government real money. And they cost jobs. Even Barak admitted this when confronted with it. But he uttered something about increasing them in the name of "fairness" anyway.
So less money for social programs, fewer jobs, and more taken from those who produce... but it's fair because we're stickin' it to those we are supposed to resent.
So I'm looking at it... and it roughly represents where our federal income taxes go, and I'm thinking "what is the Federal Government for?"
As designed, it isn't supposed to do terribly much. Enforce the Constitution, and protect the country so that there's a Constitution to enforce. And the Constitution is basically a minimal and rough framework into which state and local governments are to fit.
I'm relatively "progressive" for a Libertarian, so I buy into the idea that basic infrastructure like US and Interstate highway systems ought to be coordinated with the states.
But really, is it so surprising that 43% of this source of budget money goes to protecting the country especially while we're at war? You know, maybe it's too much money. Maybe we shouldn't spend so much on defense. Even if that were true, why should that mean that we should spend more on, say, research on the sweat properties of African frogs? Or making sure everybody's health costs get paid? Not really covered by the Constitution at all.
Interestingly enough, note that the second highest expenditure -- nearly half of what we spend on defense, is health care. And the third is Medicaid at a little more than half that again.
I'm supposed to be alarmed at the percentage of my federal income tax goes to defense. But I'm not.
They go on to show how little other countries spend on defense, supposedly shaming us for the high percentage we pay for our defense. But the truth is, a lot of the free world can afford to pay less for defense because, frankly, their defense is subsidized heavily by ours. That is, because we spend so much on it and will go in and do a lot of the heavy lifting should they ever be attacked -- they can spend more money on, say, subsidized health care and public transportation.
What I'm really alarmed about will be covered in the next post.